Bombardier Gets Boost With Boeing Venture for Maritime Spy Plane

Bombardier Inc. advanced its strategy to win defense projects as Boeing Co. said it would team up with the Canadian manufacturer to offer a low-cost maritime surveillance plane.

Bombardier’s Challenger 605 business jet would be modified and marketed for anti-piracy, coast patrol and search-and-rescue missions, Tim Peters, Boeing vice president for mobility and surveillance, said at the Dubai Air Show today.

As governments cut defense budgets, Bombardier, the world’s largest corporate jet maker, is offering cheaper alternatives to military designs with remodeled business jets that monitor terrorists, hunt for submarines and find sailors lost at sea. Expanding its defense business could help the Montreal-based company revive annual sales that have yet to surpass a peak of $19.7 billion set in 2009.

Bombardier is already marketing modified Challengers as high-altitude search-and-rescue aircraft, and smaller Learjet 70s are being reconfigured as signal-intercepting spy planes.

Chicago-based Boeing has developed the P-8 maritime patrol aircraft based on its best-selling 737 single-aisle passenger jet for the U.S. Navy and also sold the model, which is making its Dubai Air Show debut this week, to India.

The collaboration, based on a business jet, is intended to lure customers with deeper pockets that don’t need the full complement of capabilities of the P-8.

Surveillance Role

“The Challenger 605 is an ideal platform,” Peters said, offering the range, speed, and power needed to carry out the surveillance role.

Bombardier is “very pleased” to be working with Boeing, Annie Cossette, a spokeswoman for Bombardier, said in a telephone interview. She declined to say how many jets would be made, as contract negotiations are ongoing.

Boeing is in the process of modifying a company-owned business jet, a Challenger 604 also built by Bombardier, as a test plane. The model, being modified by Field Aviation which will also work on the production version, will make the rounds with possible customers next year.

Bombardier rose 0.9 percent to C$4.68 at 11:37 a.m. in Toronto. Boeing increased 1.8 percent to $138.54 in New York, after earlier reaching $142, the highest intraday price in at least 33 years.

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